Open House London is a unique opportunity to step inside some of the properties that are usually closed to the public. From government departments to transport and sewerage infrastructure, it represents the chance to take a fascinating look at parts of the city that usually go unseen.
This year’s event will run over the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd, with some 800 properties opening their doors. Entry is free, although some venues require pre-booking and others may attract large queues.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
It may still function as a working government department, but the building that houses the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) must surely be among the most opulent in London. It encompasses the highly decorated Durbar Court, as well as the stunning Locarno Suite and an ornate grand staircase. The FCO property was built by Sir George Gilbert Scott and Matthew Digby Wayatt in 1861 and is now grade I-listed. You will find it on King Charles Street in Westminster.
A traditional Thai-style temple is the last thing you would expect to find in Wimbledon, but its characteristic roof and decorative windows are a pleasant sight on Calonne Road. It’s a wonderful place to find out more about the Buddhist faith, with its interior painted with murals of scenes from Buddha’s life. The grounds, which cover four acres, are also worth exploring to find a little bit of peace and quiet among the hustle and bustle of London.
One of the nice things about Open House London is that as well as the big and impressive buildings on display, there are also more humble homes, which ordinary people have done extraordinary things with. This is the case with a 1950s house on Dulwich’s Calton Avenue, which has been transformed with a cast sculptural concrete façade by the Daykin Marshall Studio. Visit to get inspiration on alternative ways to transform your own abode.
Abbey Mills Pumping Station
It has been described as a cathedral of sewerage and it’s not hard to see why when you visit the Abbey Mills Pumping Station. Despite being a vital piece of infrastructure to deal with London’s waste water, this building was extensively decorated when it was constructed in the 19th century. From the intricate tilework to the majestic columns, it’s a stunning sight and testament to the fact that they really don’t build things like they used to.
Travel to London by coach
Whether you’re intrigued by grand historic buildings or ultra-modern eco homes, be sure to take the stress out of a trip to London by hiring a coach.
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